We recently returned from a four-month furlough in the USA. It was our great joy to thank many of you personally who have helped us financially and prayed for us for many years. We did a lot of traveling during this furlough. We dipped our feet into the Pacific Ocean, as well as the Atlantic, all in less than two weeks. Altogether, we gave a ministry update in 18 churches.
We are so blessed to partner with wonderful, separated, soul-winning churches. This summer, we saw pastors and churches being used of God in a great way to build fruit-bearing churches. We also came to understand that these same churches are being built on the shoulders (and knees) of simple, faithful, working families. As missionaries, we owe a debt to the tithes of these men, ladies, and even children who are steady week after week. We want to make special mention of Pastor Todd Poynter and the members of Greenwood Bible Baptist Church near Indianapolis. They allowed us to use their missionary house as a base during our entire time in America. I wish I had space in this letter to mention all the churches, pastors, and brothers and sisters in Christ who were used of God to help us in practical ways during this furlough.
In our travels, we had the opportunity to meet people, such as Isaac from Ghana, who was saved but not in church. He came as our guest to Greenwood Bible Baptist Church. At a hotel near Detroit, we talked with William. He received Christ and rode with us to Lakecrest Baptist Church. Lance is the brother of one of our Filipina members. She requested that we meet her brother in California. He trusted the Lord and was given the name of a good church in his area. We also met Kushi and her family, who are Sikhs from India. They received us warmly, and Kushi expressed wonder and surprise upon hearing, for the first time, the story of Jesus and His love for sinners. We gave her address to a local pastor for follow-up.
One of my goals for this furlough was to witness to some family members. We were able to share the Gospel with my cousin Jenny. She, along with all of the members of my mother’s family, are Jewish by birth, although not religious. (As a side note, the Lord enabled me to witness to four different Jewish people, one of those on the very eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.) Another cousin from my father’s side is Rob Poole. We had not seen each other for probably 30 years or so. I gave him a tract, and he said he would read it. Finally, I spent time with my oldest brother Rick. Sadly, he clearly told me that he does not share my beliefs about God. Please pray for these souls; pray that the stony ground will turn to good soil.
We have returned to the work of building Straight Road Baptist Church in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We had a wonderful 16th church anniversary. The father of one of our faithful boys came for the first time. The message ended with a challenge to trust Christ. I had him specifically in mind. Please pray that the Gospel seed will bear fruit.